(First published on The Contented Calf website on Tuesday 19th June 2012. BF2 was nearly three months old and BF1 was nearly three years old.)
To forget: to cease or fail to remember; be unable to recall: to forget someone’s name.
I forget things all the time: what I went upstairs to get, what’s in the diary for the next week, that I’ve actually come to pick up BF from nursery in the car so we shouldn’t get on the bus, how to speak…. (I forget the most simple of words ALL the time. Often, I can hardly string a sentence together.)
I put this down to being a busy, sleep-deprived mummy. Though, after many conversations with my non-mummy friend Leonard, it seems that she experiences all my ‘tired mummy’ symptoms too, so perhaps it’s just all down to us getting older… What a depressing thought as it’ll only get worse from here on!
Anyhow with BF2 approaching three months and BF1 approaching three years, I’ve realised that there was so much I’d forgotten about being a parent to a baby, rather than a toddler. The past almost-three years have gone by so quickly – I still see saw BF1 as my little baby. But as your child and their needs develop, you pick up new skills, abilities and experience along the way and forget the stuff you don’t need.
As I mentioned above, there’s only some much my brain can hold on to at any one time!
Initially it was the very practical things I’d forgotten, such as packing baby wipes in the hospital bag, or muslins. Or nipple cream. (How did I forget how much this is needed in the first few weeks??)
And then was the physical things. After the third night in a row that I’d woken up drenched through, I stopped thinking “strange….. it must be a warm night” and realised that it was the new mum night sweats – completely wiped from my mind.
It might sound crazy, but I’d also forgotten just how small newborns are. They are tiny. (And BF2 was nearly a whole pound heavier than BF1!)
This was put into sharp perspective when BF1 decided she wanted to wear ‘nappy nappies’ at night, like BF2, instead of her ‘step step pull-ups’. I hadn’t put a nappy on her for such a long time, that after BF2’s size one nappies, sticking the fasteners round BF1’s waist felt like I was putting a nappy on an adult, like I was wrapping it round a 40” man’s waist, not a little girl, who’s not yet even three! Just in comparison she is so…. BIG!
Babies poo a lot! I’d forgotten that too.
After a few weeks break of one poo every other day, we’re back to our regular rhythm of practically every feed causing a bowel movement – how pleasant! At least she’s not eating yet – after milk poos, those are simply vile. I remember those!!
And are very noisy sleepers – well, certainly both of ours. They grunt and groan and ‘urgh’ throughout the whole night, so any sleep you do manage to get is not very restful at all.
Which leads me to the thing I forgot most. Like any painful experience, I’d pushed this to the depths of my mind.
I’d forgotten just how crippling extreme sleep deprivation can be. The hormones and adrenaline got me through the first week or so – I was pretty high.
(I even gushed madly to hubby “oh let’s just have lots and lots of babies!” at the end of week one – what WAS I thinking!? Rest assured, this desire has very much passed for the time being.)
Plus BF2 really did just sleep and eat. But after that initial high wore off, day after day, night after night, week after week, I’m still either getting up in the middle of the night for an hour or more, and/or having VERY early mornings.
(Can you count 4:40am as the morning?? It’s certainly light at that time, I can tell you! I’ve seen it a fair amount in the past few months.)
The ‘novelty’ of being up at all hours has very much worn off now. I am tired to my core. I. JUST. WANT. TO. SLEEP.
I look back at when it was only BF1’s early mornings, mixed in with the odd sleepless night of nightmares or illness with fondness (SLASH rose-tinted glasses) as if they were uni days of getting up at noon.
You see, I’d honestly forgotten all this.
But what I hadn’t forgotten is that overwhelming sense of love and need to protect that totally consumes me without question, especially when I’m holding either one of my gorgeous gorgeous girls, breathing them in.
Whilst the practicalities of looking after BF1 as a baby were brain-dumped along the way, that motherly love has stayed and grown, just as she has grown. I may be twice as tired, but I feel twice as much love. I
t’s a fair swap, don’t you think?
And I can sleep when they go to uni can’t I?
As always, with love from our family to yours,